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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

More Wednesday Writing Tips

I love reading what other writers and editors have to say about the writing life and improving your craft. I especially enjoy posts and articles which give me an inside look into the successful processes someone else uses.

Browsing the always-nifty posts at Amy Sue Nathan's blog yesterday, I found just such a juicy nugget, which I asked and got permission to borrow in order to share with you. If you get the opportunity, you'll find good writerly stuffs over at Amy's place. Here's an example:

Amy writes, "When you write a scene, you use building blocks of characters, dialog, time, place, emotion. You pick and choose and use them carefully (we hope). But does the scene hold up if you remove one element? Or does the whole thing fall apart?" More here titled Literary Jenga---> http://amysuenathan.com/?p=401

Do you find you constantly leave out the same important element from your work, or add extra components which make it wobbly or bulky? I get overly-wordy sometimes, but I blame that on my Italian heritage and the Cajun culture that surrounds me. When I find these "tic words" or whole paragraphs (or lines/stanzas in a poem) which can easily be deleted without negative impact to the bigger work, it makes me feel like this:


How 'bout you?

21 comments:

Terri Tiffany said...

LOVE the picture--someone you know? I tend to cut too much and not be wordy enough--I've found I have to flesh out what I write. I've always written short stories and tried to keep my wordcount tight--and writing a book is different in some ways.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Just a cute photo from the Net, Terri. ;) Seems we have opposite trouble areas with writing. Hey, if we ever co-author, maybe it'd come out just right.

Janna Qualman said...

I.love.that.picture!

What a neat concept to apply to our own writing. My "weak foundation" probably comes from wordiness, like you, but also choppy transitions and conclusions. I have to work really hard to make those aspects of my writing smooth.

Suldog said...

Sure, I tend to use some words far more than I probably should: "however" "just", for that matter "sure" and "probably" :-)

Carrie Wilson Link said...

All the time!

Janine said...

Yes, I have the same problem with being wordy.

I also like certain transition words too much........like however. haha.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Janna, I bet your writing is better than you think. Sometimes we're our own worst critics.

LOL, Sul, and touche'!

*wave* to Carrie. ;)

Hear ya, Janine. I find a lot of "little" useage in my writing. Did you know there's an online tool that lets you check your word frequency usage? I'm gonna have to look that up...in a LITTLE while. LOL

The Paper Whisperer said...

Not only am I wordy, but I am also obnoxiously redundant. I just so happen to have a lot to say! What's the problem? LOL!!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Not a problem for me, sha! ;)

Barbara said...

I've heard the most over-used word is "that"...I am always using it too much.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Barbara, excellent reminder. "That" is unneeded about 95% of the time. I find when editing submissions to Rose & Thorn, or when critiquing others' work, it's the word I most often remove.

Melissa Marsh said...

Sometimes, I'm overly wordy when I am in the zone and writing well. Other times, I am not wordy ENOUGH when the muse has decided to flee. All I can say is, thank goodness for editing. ;-)

Kathryn Magendie said...

I can "overwrite" - and one of my all time OVERUSED tic words is "just" or maybe "was" just because I think I am better about spotting it....

I love ...ellipses! and em dash! But, I try not to use over use them, except in ...emails...and -- posts...and --- comments!Same with exclamation points - a no no unless I'm using them humorously or ironically!!!!!!!!!!

writtenexpressions said...

Just wanted you to know I'm adding you to my blog roll (not because Lori W. told me to, but because I finally got around to checking out your blog--good stuff!).

Thanks for all your comments on my blog, by the way.

Kasie West said...

I constantly have to tell myself that I can't get too attached to a scene or conversation because every section is always on the chopping block. If I get too attached it keeps me from making my book better. Last week I took out the entire first chapter of my first book (5,000 words) because I realized it would be so much more intriguing without it. It was SO HARD TO DO. But after reworking my second chapter a little, I realized it was so much better without it. I wouldn't of thought it were possible, but even without it, everything still made sense, my characters were still my characters, they didn't need me to fill in their back story, they remained the same without it. I love it when that happens.

colbymarshall said...

I'm a little the opposite...I find place where I could've fleshed out more than I originally did. It usually works out, but I always end up adding rather than subtracting.

Ang said...

I have to say that I am too wordy. I too use "that" way to much and "just". Since writing more and reading advice, techniques, and anything I can get my hands on to better my craft--I have learned to identify these wordy words and hit "delete". And my writing has improved tremendously.

Happy writing and happy blogging.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Melissa, I agree. Better to get it all down on paper before we start editing. That can be stifling and counterproductive.

Kat, I get exclamation-osis sometimes in email or on comment sections. ;)

LOL, Written. Thanks and I did the same. Couldn't find the Follow button at your blog, though.

Kasie, it is nice when the editing flows just right and the finished product is all the better for it.

I guess the point is, even if we have to add, subtract, divide, or multiply, the "math" we do on our words is an important step, hunh, Coblby? ;)

Write on, Ang!

Shammickite said...

I haven't done any truly creative writing since high school... of course I write letters to relatives, and I've done a few articles for the local paper, and there's the blog... but nothing really creative. Perhaps I should try it.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Give it a try, Shammickite, you might enjoy it.

mlh said...

I feel wordy when it comes to dialogue. For some reason I need to overexplain instead of allowing the surrounding description tell the person's mood.

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